Things That You Should Never Buy
When you go to the store you have a list or an idea in your head of what you need and are looking for. Normally these are things that you want. However, I propose that you should always have this list on hand . . .
Things that you shouldn't buy. Ever.
Styrofoam Cups - Styrofoam isn't biodegradable . . it stays in that landfill forever! Instead, buy cups that are recyclable or just buy your own reusable on-the-go mug.
Paper Towels - A waste all over the map. It's money that you don't have to spend, and trees that don't have to be cut down. Buy reusable and washable hand and dish towels instead.
Incandescent light bulbs - They're inefficient and waste energy in the form of heat. Try buying compact fluorescent light bulbs, which might cost a little more upfront, but last longer and can end up saving you $30 to $36 over the life of each bulb.
Conventional Household Cleaners - These products can contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum-based chemicals that can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor environment, positing a particular danger for children. The average American household has 3 to 10 of hazardous matter in the home.Instead, look for nontoxic, vegetable-based, biodegradable cleaners or make your own green cleaning products.
Plastic Utensils - They aren't biodegradable and not recyclable in most areas.
Instead try using compostable food service items. Companies such as Biocorp make cutlery from plant materials such as corn starch and cellulose or carry your own utensils and food containers.
Disposable Batteries - Batteries contain heavy metals that can leach into the environment. Instead invest in rechargeable batteries and an electric- or solar-powered battery charger.
Bleached Coffee Filters - Dioxins, chemicals formed during the chlorine bleaching process, contaminate groundwater and air and are linked to cancer in humans and animals. Look for unbleached paper filters or use reusable filters such as washable cloth filters.
Industrially Raised Beef - Industrial cattle operations are energy-intensive, rely on antibiotics and an unnatural corn diet, and generate polluted runoff and large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas. Limit your intake of beef and choose meat from sustainably raised, grass-fed cows.
Hair Conditioner - Many hair conditioners contain ingredients like sodium benzoate, benzyl alcohol and tocopheryl acetate that can be toxic or potentially carcinogenic. Try using natural oils like olive, safflower or jojoba instead.
Chemical Pesticides and Herbicides - American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year. The EPA found at least one pesticide in almost every water and fish sample from streams and in more than one-half of shallow wells sampled in agricultural and urban areas. These chemicals pose threats to animals and people, especially children. Buy organic pest controllers such as diatomaceous earth.
Plant native plants and practice integrated pest management and plant flowers and herbs that act as natural pesticides.
Excessively Packaged Food and Other Products - Excess packaging wastes resources and costs you much more. Around 33% of trash in the average American household comes from packaging. Buy products with minimal or reusable packaging or buy in bulk and use your own containers when shopping.
Cling/Saran/ Plastic Wrap - Many people don't realize that cling wrap may be made with PVC. #3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) leaches toxins when heated or microwaved and it is an environmental problem throughout its lifecycle. Instead store things in reusable containers.
Beauty/Body Care with Phthalates and Parabens - Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals linked to birth defects that are used in many cosmetic products, from nail polish to deodorant. Parabens are preservatives used in many cosmetics that have been linked to breast cancer though more research is needed. Phthalates are not listed on product labels and can only be detected in laboratory tests. To be safe, choose products from companies that have signed on to the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
High Octane Gas than You Need - Only one car in ten manufactured since 1982 requires high-octane gasoline. High-octane gas releases more hazardous pollutants into the air, and may be bad for your car. Instead, buy the lowest-octane gas your car requires as listed in your owner's manual. You can also try making your next car purchase a hybrid. Or ditch the car and take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk.
Teak and mahogany - Every year, 27 million acres of tropical rainforest (an area the size of Ohio) are destroyed. Rainforests cover 6% of Earth?s surface and are home to over half of the world?s wild plant, animal, and insect species. The Amazon rainforest produces 40 percent of the world?s oxygen.Look for Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. Try to reuse wood, and buy furniture and other products made from used or salvaged wood.
Farm Raised Salmon - Several studies, including one performed by researchers at Indiana University, have found that PCB's and other environmental toxins are present at higher levels in farm raised salmon than wild salmon. Pregnant women, women of child-bearing ages, and children should be very careful when choosing fish due to high levels of environmental toxins including mercury found in many fish.
Anything Made with PVC - Polyvinyl chloride, used in everything from shower curtains to residential siding to toys and upholstery, sometimes contains phthalates (to make the plastic softer) that act as endocrine disruptor's, which interfere with normal hormonal development. Buy products made with natural fabrics and sustainably harvested woods instead.
High VOC Paints and Finishes - Volatile organic compounds or VOCs can cause health problems from dizziness to lung and kidney damage and are infamous for polluting both indoor and outdoor air. VOCs are found in products including paints as well as finishes used for wood, such a stains or varnishes. There are now a wide array of low or no-VOC paints on the market. Look for paints certified by Green Seal, or look for natural paints made by green businesses.
Rayon - Developed and manufactured b y DuPont as the world's first synthetic fiber, it is made by from liquefied wood pulp. Unfortunately, turning wood into rayon is wasteful and dirty, because lots of water and chemicals are needed to extract usable fibers from trees. Only about a third of the pulp obtained from a tree will end up in finished rayon thread. The resulting fabrics usually require dry cleaning, which is an environmental concern as well as an added expense and inconvenience.
Much of the our rayon sold comes from developing countries, such as Indonesia, where environmental and labor laws are weak and poorly enforced. There is mounting evidence that rayon clothing manufacturing contributes to significant forest destruction and pollution in other countries.
...and then your readers won't believe anything you say.
I quote: Many hair conditioners contain ingredients like sodium benzoate, benzyl alcohol and tocopheryl acetate that can be toxic or potentially carcinogenic.
For your information, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE = VITAMIN E. Is vitamin E really toxic and potentially carcinogenic? Wow, thanks for enlightening me. Just because it sounds like a chemical, it doesn't mean it's bad, it's just the scientific name.
So basically, you said a lot of intelligent things in your article, but people who are the least bit knowledgeable, such as myself, will disregard everything you said because it just became invalidated. It makes you sound like you don't know what you are talking about.
Do you know how much mercury there is in a CFL? Less than 5 milligrams. If you've got an old mercury thermometer or thermostat laying around, that's 500 or more milligrams you have in your house.
It's a no-brainer to recycle CFLs--most communities have a way to do it and even some stores will take them back. If your community doesn't, get involved and get a city ordinance passed!
But EVEN IF YOU THREW CFLS IN THE GARBAGE--and I am NOT recommending this--you would be putting less mercury into the environment in most parts of the country than if you used incandescent bulbs.
That's because 50 percent or more of our electricity is generated using coal, which spews mercury into the air during processing.
Your incandescent bulb uses 5 times as much electricity as a CFL. Over the lifetime of a CFL, the amount of mercury contamination from the electricity for the 5 incandescents you would have used would be higher than what's in the CFL.
And, of course, if you dispose of the CFL by recycling, there's NO mercury contamination at all.
I save my spent CFLs up until I have two or three of them and take them to the recycling center. It's been four years since I last took them in, and I still don't have two to recycle, because they last so long--up to seven years.
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